Black Enterprise has been in the events business for more than 30 years, going back to our Networking Forums in cities across the country in the 1980s. Then, as now, our mission is about far more than just creating events. Like our magazine, our objective is to leverage and replicate success as the rule, not the exception, for black Americans.
For example, our annual Women of Power Summit is not your run of the mill women’s conference but an executive leadership retreat where ambitious and senior-level professionals can safely and candidly share strategies to fuel their collective advancement.
And our TechConneXt Summit (set to take place Oct. 9–10 in Burlingame, California) is not just another conference about the dearth of diversity in Silicon Valley but a must-attend event for those looking to establish relationships and leverage real career and business opportunities with technology companies driving the global economy.
This standard also applies to our newest event, the Black Men XCEL Summit: Celebrating The Best of Who We Are, which will take place Aug. 30 through Sept. 3 at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (www.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel).
Black Men XCEL is not your typical conference to talk about the challenges facing black males. The objective of Black Men XCEL is nothing less than to challenge and change the narrative of black men, from one of dysfunction and defeat, to a more accurate representation of leadership, excellence, and triumph, often in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. The men and women who will gather at the Black Men XCEL Summit are making a bold collective statement: black men, and the contributions we make to our communities, our nation, and the world, are worthy of celebration.
The crowning event of the Black Men XCEL Summit is the XCEL Awards: An Extraordinary Celebration of Excellence and Leadership, designed to be the ultimate recognition of the brilliance and outstanding contributions of black men across industries ranging from business and entertainment to sports and social activism. I am proud that our inaugural class of honorees will include the presentation of the first Earl G. Graves Sr. XCEL Award to none other than civil rights hero and icon Rep. John Lewis.
Lewis and I are part of the generation of “Black Lives Matter” activism better known as the civil rights movement of the 1960s, where he literally put his life on the line in the face of violent confrontation by law enforcement at the Edmund Pettus Bridge during the now legendary march in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today, as a congressman representing the state of Georgia, Lewis is firmly established as an American hero still committed to justice as one of the greatest public servants of his generation.
We are determined to uplift Lewis and our other XCEL Award honorees as beacons and standards for all black men to aspire to and be inspired by, especially members of the millennial generation, including my three young-adult grandsons Earl III (Gibby), Teddy, and Carter. It’s worth noting that Lewis was in his 20s, the age of many of today’s millennials, when, as chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, he became established as the youngest of the now legendary “Big Six” civil rights leaders.
It’s not enough to say that black men must do better, though that is absolutely true. We have an obligation to show the way, by pointing out what is almost never acknowledged by mainstream media: The legacy and contributions of black men are worthy of attention and celebration. The narrative of men of color must change to reflect the truth of what Black Enterprise has known and documented for decades: Black men excel. We always have, and always will.
If you share my belief that black men are worthy of celebration, I look forward to seeing you at the Black Men XCEL Summit.
Register now for the Black Men XCEL Summit 2017!
And check out our BE Modern Man site continuing the celebration of black men.